Exelixis Inc. (EXEL) shares were up 1.71%, or 46 cents, to $27.37 in morning trading Wednesday, Aug. 16 on news that better positions the company's kidney cancer drug Cabometyx in the market.

Topline results released Tuesday from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMY) shows that the combination of two Bristol-Myers drugs, Opdivo and Yervoy, failed to show a statistically significant improvement over Pfizer's (PFE) Sutent in intermediate- and poor-risk kidney cancer patients. That's good news for Exelixis because previously released results already showed improvement from use of Cabometyx over Sutent in an identical sample of kidney cancer patients.

Bristol-Myers is down 0.8%, or 47 cents, to $57.40.

Shares of Agilent Technologies Inc. (A) were up 3.67%, or $2.23, to $61.61 after the company reported revenue of $1.11 billion, up 7% year over year for the third quarter ended July 31.

Third-quarter GAAP net income was $175 million, or $0.54 per share. Last year's third-quarter GAAP net income was $124 million, or $0.38 per share.

Mike McMullen, Agilent CEO, attributed the performance to "strength across all our business groups" but noted an assist from new products. "We launched several new products that raise the bar on new capabilities for our customers. We also closed the acquisition of Cobalt Light Systems, enhancing our customer value proposition and providing us with immediate entry into the attractive, fast-growing Raman pectroscopy market."

Agilent, spun off from Hewlitt-Packard in 1999, provides analytical instruments, software, services and consumables for laboratories.

Pluristem Therapeutics Inc. (PSTI) had risen 9.32%, or 11 cents, to $1.24 Wednesday morning after an announcement that the U.S. Department of Defense would test the company's PLX-R18 as a countermeasure for Acute Radiation Syndrome prior to and within 24 hours of exposure to high levels of radiation.

Haifa, Israel-based Pluristem is developing placenta-based cell therapy products.

The DOD study is being conducted in conjunction with another run by the National Institutes of Health examining subjects who would be administered PLX-R18 24 hours post exposure. The new DOD study is meant to evaluate the treatment's usefulness protecting U.S. Armed Forces prior to or soon after radiation exposure.

"We are pleased to see increased interest from U.S. governmental agencies in our PLX-R18 cell therapy," noted Zami Aberman, Chairman and co-CEO of Pluristem. "In view of the therapeutic effects of our product and the current geopolitical situation, governments can potentially shield their citizens from the dire health effects arising from exposure to nuclear radiation, saving many lives in the process, which is our ultimate goal."

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